What do we value in participatory arts?
Posted by Connected Culture on 05 November 2011
The moment has arrived for us to be bold and brave and to advocate for ourselves.
Let’s change the conversation.
Working in participatory arts with vulnerable adults we ask our participants: How do you want to be seen? How do you want to be represented? What language do you want to use? What space do you want to be in? Who do you want to talk to?
As professionals working in adult participatory arts we now more than ever need to try to ask these questions of ourselves, and come together to make a real change. We need to have confidence in our own abilities. We don’t have to apologise for our differences, or try to fit in to someone else’s understanding of what’s artistically or socially valuable, or what’s successful.
We have to create a different kind of understanding; we have to start a different conversation.
Measurement and value are currently tied up very tightly with numbers of people reached, achieving “artistic excellence” and maintaining a healthy financial bottom line. Let’s change the language, use our own language and ascribe value to participatory arts that has meaning to us, so let’s talk about, measure, promote, evidence, compare and strive for work guided by values such as Wellbeing, Creativity, Diversity, and Humanity. It’s up to us to creatively and intelligently move the debate forward and practice differently.
Until we can show how our values have greater relevance to our work, we’ll continue to be judged by other’s values.